Contact: DNR Office of Communications
Boat Sober, Wear Your Life Jacket This Holiday Weekend
DNR Wardens Join Local Boat Patrols For Operation Dry Water
MADISON, Wis. – Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest times of year for Wisconsin waterways, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding boaters to keep safety top of mind as they cast off.
Those enjoying Wisconsin's waters during the holiday weekend will see more DNR conservation wardens and local law enforcement on high alert for anyone under the influence as part of the annual national Operation Dry Water July 2-4.
Alcohol use is a leading factor in recreational boating fatalities, and nearly 80% of fatal boating incidents involve drowning. Since Operation Dry Water started in 2009, law enforcement officers across the nation have removed more than 4,700 impaired operators from our nation’s waterways, preventing dangerous and potentially devastating consequences.
The easiest and most important things for people to remember is to boat sober and wear their life jacket. So far in 2021, 13 people have died in boating-related incidents. Most of them were not wearing their life jackets.
Law enforcement agencies from across the U.S. are taking part in the Operation Dry Water campaign, focusing on spotting impaired boaters and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence. In 2020, 620 agencies took part in the Operation Dry Water weekend.
“We want to make sure that everyone on the water has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend,” said Lt. Darren Kuhn, DNR Boating Law Administrator. “This means that all operators and passengers should boat sober all season long. Boating under the influence is a 100% preventable crime. Whether you’re driving the boat or enjoying it as a passenger, being under the influence can cause slips, falls overboard and other dangerous incidents. Stay safe by boating sober and always wearing a life jacket.”
A boat operator or passenger with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit runs a significantly increased risk of being involved in a boating accident. When impaired by alcohol, boating accidents are more likely and deadlier for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or fall overboard.
Boaters should take a boating safety education course before getting on the water and everyone on board should always wear a life jacket while near or on the water.
Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related incidents and fatalities.